5/2/2011: Two press releases announce what seems to be an excellent resolution of the ORI / Riverfront Research situation. ORI will get a building south of
the millrace Millrace Drive, in the area already under development. No further development in the RRP will happen without a plan and a public process.
Lots of people in Eugene stop things from getting built. Think Whole Foods, PeaceHealth, etc. Paul Cziko and his gang got something better built. I’m impressed.
If UO had been open and transparent about this from the start, ORI’s building would be under construction now. Instead they opted for secrecy, and that decision came back and bit them and ORI and the developer in the butt. We will probably never know who made that decision. It certainly cost UO thousands of times the $202.34 UO’s public records officer Liz Denecke tried to charge Connecting Eugene for public records on the matter!
Congratulations to the Connecting Eugene people for their work on this and for what looks like a very productive ending. I confess I thought they had their facts wrong on the planning process, and that if they fought this ORI would move to Springfield like every other Eugene employer. I was wrong on both counts.
“The decision to postpone development of another new building within the research park allows us to re-examine the best location for the ORI/EPIC building,” Lariviere said. “By exploring the feasibility of the 1700 Millrace Drive site, I am confident that we will arrive at the best possible outcome for everyone involved,” he said. …
“Beyond this project, the university will launch a master planning process to help address future facilities needs for UO’s expanding role in catalyzing innovation and its ties to economic development,” Linton added.
And from the Connecting Eugene people:
Connecting Eugene commends University of Oregon President Richard Lariviere on his decision to explore an alternative location for a proposed private office building and parking lot slated to be built along the Willamette River in Eugene.
The University of Oregon announced today (attached below) that the President has recommended an examination of an alternative location for the proposed Oregon Research Institute (ORI) building. The building is currently slated to be constructed under a 1989 Master Plan at the western end of the University’s riverfront open space, just upstream from the Eugene Water and Electric Board (EWEB) property. The plan, if completed, would transform the University’s 67-acre riverfront open space into a private office complex.
Members of Connecting Eugene, a community group concerned about public involvement and the appropriate use of the riverfront, believe that the President’s recommendation may be the first step towards a win-win solution to the problems with the proposed project.
UO Graduate student and Connecting Eugene member Paul Cziko is encouraged by the news: “I’m cautiously optimistic, yet delighted that President Lariviere is responding to the concerns of students, faculty, and community members who want to see the ORI project built while protecting the riverfront from inappropriate development”.